A SHOP owner has pledged to reopen a former popular local community store after being granted a licence to sell alcohol.

Sultan Mahmood Goher went before Hartlepool Borough Council Sub-Licensing Committee to request a licence for a convenience store on Oxford Road, at the site of Bargains Locally.

The application was to enable the store to sell alcohol between 9am and 10pm, seven days a week.

Councillors on the committee gave the green light for the proposals, allowing the bosses behind the shop to get to work planning the future for the store.

This was despite concerns raised by two residents ahead of the meeting it could lead to an increase in crime, disorder and public nuisance due to the sale of alcohol late at night near to the premises.

Mr Goher, who previously ran the shop for three years from 2008, said he wanted to make it a popular community store again and would look to change the name and bring investment in.

He said: “I thought because the shop has been empty for a few months, when I had the licence I never had any problem, I wanted to have a licence again so I can run my shop again, better, and bring a franchise in to employ a few more people and successfully run the shop.

“The shop was my baby, I used to enjoy working there, it was my livelihood.”

The premises had previously been licensed to sell alcohol, however the licence was revoked in October 2016 following a review brought by Hartlepool Borough Council’s Trading Standards Team.

The review was "as a consequence of numerous sales of counterfeit tobacco at the premises and a number of seizures of counterfeit tobacco". Mr Goher said he previously ran the store without issue, but was forced to step away due to health issues around 2011, and added he was also unhappy with the previous activity at the store while he was away.

Although two letters of objection were submitted to the application, neither attended the hearing over the licence, however one did submit an extra comment of complaint.

Cllr Tom Cassidy, chairing the committee, said: “We considered that the application was able to allay the objectors’ concerns and the licensing objectives would not be undermined by the granting of the licence.”